Encyclopedia of Sports in America

A History from Foot Races to Extreme Sports

by Murry R. Nelson, Editor


This engaging reference traces the fascinating and often tumultuous growth of sports in America—how the icons, the commercial enterprises, the sporting events, and even fan culture have changed from decade to decade and era to era.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of Sports in America

December 2008


Pages 608
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics American History/General

Sports and leisure activities serve as a mirror, allowing us to examine the attitudes and values of everyday people. This new reference explores the development and influence of sports in American culture, as well as how sports icons, commercial enterprises, organizations, sporting events, and even fan culture have changed from decade to decade and from era to era, from the foot races of colonial times to the extreme sports of today.

Each chapter focuses on key aspects of sports in American culture, including such topics as ethnicity, gender, and economics. Enhanced with numerous sidebars on the movers and shakers, key sporting trends, as well as the controversies that threatened to tear the sports world apart, this insightful reference is ideal for high school and college students who are interested in tracing the evolution of sports and American culture throughout the nation's history. Features include a timeline of important events, numerous photographs, and a bibliography of print and electronic sources for further

Table of Contents

Volume One, Colonial Years to 1940IntroductionAcknowledgementsTimelineChapter 1. American Sports, 1607-1860Chapter 2. American Sports, 1861-1889Chapter 3. American Sports, 1890-1899Chapter 4. American Sports, 1900-1909Chapter 5. American Sports, 1910-1919Chapter 6. American Sports, 1920-1929Chapter 7. American Sports, 1930-1939Volume Two, 1940 to the PresentChapter 8. American Sports, 1940-1949Chapter 9. American Sports, 1950-1959Chapter 10. American Sports, 1960-1969Chapter 11. American Sports, 1970-1979Chapter 12. American Sports 1980-1989Chapter 13. American Sports, 1990 to the PresentResource GuideAbout the Contributors



"This set provides an excellent overview of sports, with the major focus on the last century. . . . The text does a fine job of giving attention to each sport equal to the attention that sport received during a particular era. The book does a superb job on the role that sports play in American culture, and on the connection between sport and societal topics, e.g., ethnicity, race, media, law, politics, and scandals. . . . This encyclopedia is an exceptional resource for public and academic libraries."Choice

"Bottom Line: Written for general readers, this set could easily fill a niche in middle school and high school libraries, as well as public libraries, particularly where research on sports history is a popular topic. Nelson's work does not replace general sports encyclopedias, but it makes a nice complement to sports information collections. Recommended for middle school, high school, and public libraries; these libraries might also want a copy for their circulating collections.' "Library Journal

"Nelson (emeritus, education and American studies, Pennsylvania State U.) and 19 contributors offer a variety of insights and perspectives on the function of sports in American history and how historical events affected sports. The two-volume reference begins with the America's colonial years and continues to the present, from horse racing to stock car racing
and snowboarding. While the book contains a substantial amount of data, it is typically set in context of the society and culture of the period. For that reason, it also reflects the characteristics and nature of American society and its admirable and less than admirable traits. The book has a scholarly style, but is intended for the general reader."Reference & Research Book News

"The editor and contributors offer a clear and useful overview of sports in American culture, aimed at general readers and students from high school through the lower-level undergraduate level. Recommended for public and school libraries."Booklist

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